Microsoft Wins Court Battle Against FTC Over Activision Blizzard Acquisition [Update: FTC Appealing]

Federal Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has ruled against the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block Microsoft from closing its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard until it can be fully reviewed, freeing up the companies to complete the deal before a July 18 deadline, and potentially paving the way for them to dramatically reshape the future of gaming in the years to come.

Judge Corley writes in her 53-page decision:

This Court’s responsibility in this case is narrow. It is to decide if, notwithstanding these current circumstances, the merger should be halted—perhaps even terminated—pending resolution of the FTC administrative action. For the reasons explained, the Court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition. To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED.

On just about every point, the Judge found the FTC’s arguments wanting. In particular, she was unmoved by Harvard economics professor Robin Lee’s analysis that Microsoft would have a financial incentive to make Call of Duty and Xbox console exclusive, and wrote that it failed to take into account plans for the franchise to remain on PC, come to Switch, and be accessible through cloud gaming.

“Before the merger, a consumer wanting to play a Call of Duty console game had to buy a PlayStation or an Xbox,” Judge Corley wrote. “After the merger, consumers can utilize the cloud to play on the device of choice, including, it is intended, on the Nintendo Switch. Perhaps bad for Sony. But good for Call of Duty gamers and future gamers.”

What happens to the Microsoft Activision deal now?

The FTC can try to appeal the ruling, and still has its own anti-trust lawsuit in the works, but both appear unlikely at this juncture to derail the deal. The last obstacle in Microsoft’s way, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocking the deal in the UK, also appears to be disappearing. Microsoft President Brad Smith tweeted that it is currently set to negotiate with the CMA on final remedies to win back approval for the deal.

“We’re grateful to the court for swiftly deciding in our favor,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer tweeted after the decision was announced. “The evidence showed the Activision Blizzard deal is good for the industry and the FTC’s claims about console switching, multi-game subscription services, and cloud don’t reflect the realities of the gaming market.” Activision’s stock price is now the highest it’s been since the deal was first announced back in January 2022, approaching the planned sale price of $95 a share.

The decision comes after a five-day hearing in the Northern District Court of California which included testimony and major revelations from high-ranking industry figures ranging from Spencer to Sony Interactive Gaming CEO Jim Ryan. The FTC tried to argue that Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard would have wide-ranging consequences that would harm consumers and lead to less competition in the console gaming market, while Microsoft defended the acquisition, claiming it was a necessary strategic move to counter Sony’s dominance with the PlayStation 5.

Much of the proceedings revolved around debating whether high-end console gaming—Xbox and PlayStation—should be considered separately from PC, Nintendo Switch, and other hardware, and whether franchises like Call of Duty are popular and profitable enough to single-handedly swing momentum from one company to another. At one point while on the stand, Spencer even held up his hand and promised the court that he would not remove Call of Duty from PS5, even as Microsoft and Sony struggled to agree to future licensing terms for the franchise behind closed doors.

Testimony during the trial revealed plenty of gamesmanship on both sides, as well as interesting details about other attempted acquisitions and exclusivity deals. Prior to making an offer for Activision, court documents revealed that Microsoft had also discussed buying Japanese publishers Sega and Square Enix. Corporate emails also showed that executives at the tech giant often discussed making new games exclusive, like Bethesda Software’s upcoming Indiana Jones project, in order to compete with Sony’s opposing deals.

Ultimately, Judge Corley wrote that those examples were unpersuasive because they weren’t live service, multiplatform multiplayer games like Call of Duty. She instead cited Minecraft’s continued non-exclusive availability as a counterexample. “While the FTC argues Microsoft’s ‘past conduct following similar transactions also demonstrates its likely anticompetitive nature,’ presumably referring to the ZeniMax acquisition, this ignores the Mojang/Minecraft acquisition,” she wrote.

Update 7/11/23 12:13 p.m. ET: Added more information about the court’s ruling and the CMA re-starting negotiations with Microsoft.

Update 2, 7/12/23 7:35pm ET: The FTC says it will be appealing.

Overwatch 2 And Other Blizzard Games Are Coming To Steam

Lucio, Tracer, Reinhardt, Brigittie, and Mei are seen looking out at a ship invasion.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

If you, like many others, are very particular about which PC launcher you like to open to play your games and are partial to Steam, you’re in luck. Blizzard has announced it’s bringing some of its games to the platform, starting with Overwatch 2. So you won’t have to worry about keeping the launcher that’s taking up precious hard drive space.

Overwatch 2 will debut on Steam on August 10, which will also make the game compatible with Steam achievements and your Steam friends list. While you no longer need installed to play the hero shooter, you will still have to link to your account, as is the case across all versions of the game. As for what other games Blizzard is bringing to Steam, the company says it will be “sharing more about potential other games coming to the platform when the time is right.” So sit tight, World of Warcraft sickos.

As a pretty casual PC player, this means very little to me as I already play Overwatch 2 on console. But it’s impossible to deny that PC game launchers are a hot topic for some people, as some folks like the ubiquity of having all their games, achievements, and friends in one ubiquitous space. Plus, it’s pretty frustrating juggling several accounts across different platforms that mostly do the same thing. Who’s thrilled about signing up for Bluesky and Threads when you’re already on the sinking ship that is Twitter? None of us, that’s who. The same applies to Steam,, Epic Games, and some other PC launcher I’m forgetting about, I’m sure.

The Steam version will launch the same day as Overwatch 2’s first set of story missions, which will cost $15 to play, and will likely be the only set we get in 2023. If you’re at all interested in that and want to catch up on Overwatch lore before the plot finally moves forward, here’s a handy guide to pretty much every piece of extended media that tells you why everyone in that game is shooting at each other.

Blizzard Responds To Overwatch 2 Review Bombing On Steam

On Friday, Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller responded to the hero shooter’s Steam review bombing which led to the game becoming one of the most “overwhelmingly negatively” reviewed games on the storefront.

When Overwatch 2 season six, titled Invasion, launched earlier last week, it brought with it a new support hero, a new game mode, PvE story missions, and the free-to-play game’s debut on Steam, Valve’s popular PC gaming storefront. While the game’s Steam launch was supposed to give players another, potentially more convenient way to play the colorful team-based shooter, it instead led to an incredible influx of negative reviews. Though some players merely left reviews joking about Overwatch 2’s Source Film Maker porn-creation scene being better than the actual game, a majority of players voiced their disappointment with Overwatch 2 failing to deliver on its once-promised story mode.

Read More: Overwatch 2 Is Steam’s Worst-Rated Game, But It’s Complicated

Keller acknowledged OW2’s less-than-stellar Steam reviews in a recent blog post, saying:

…Although being review-bombed isn’t a fun experience, it’s been great to see lots of new players jump into Overwatch 2 for the first time. Our goal with Overwatch 2 has been to make the game more accessible than ever for more people than ever before.

Many of the reviews on Steam mention the cancellation of the much larger component of PvE that was announced in 2019 as one of their primary reasons for dissatisfaction with the game. I get that. That announcement was about an ambitious project that we ultimately couldn’t deliver.

If we can’t turn back the clock, then what can we do? We can keep adding to and improving Overwatch 2. That is how we move forward. This means more maps, heroes, game modes, missions, stories, events, cool cosmetics, and features—an ever-expanding, evolving, and improving game. This is the future of Overwatch. One where we will continually create and innovate on what is making the game great now for the players who are playing now.

Keller ended his remarks by noting that Overwatch is “such a unique game and world,” especially when players remember to actually work together on in-game objectives, and encouraged people to give the hero shooter an earnest try on Steam.


Microsoft Sells Activision Blizzard Streaming Rights To Ubisoft

Somehow, over a year later, Microsoft’s attempted $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard just took its weirdest turn yet. The tech giant announced today that it will sell off the streaming rights for Call of Duty, Overwatch, and more to rival publisher Ubisoft as part of one last attempt to get holdout regulators in the UK to approve the deal.

“To address the concerns about the impact of the proposed acquisition on cloud game streaming raised by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, we are restructuring the transaction to acquire a narrower set of rights,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in an August 22 blog post. “This includes executing an agreement effective at the closing of our merger that transfers the cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher. The rights will be in perpetuity.”

Ubisoft confirmed in its own blog post that this means Activision Blizzard games like Modern Warfare II will soon be added to its own Ubisoft+ Multi Access subscription service, as well as its Ubisoft+ Classics add-on for PlayStation users. While the games can still be licensed for Microsoft’s own Game Pass subscription service, they would not be able to become exclusive to any one cloud gaming platform. Ubisoft+, which includes big blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six Siege, already costs more than Game Pass on console, and it will be interesting to see how this new side-deal transforms the service.

How exactly will this messy divestiture work? According to the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK, Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft through a “one-off payment” as well as a “wholesale pricing mechanism” that includes the option to pay based on usage. Ubisoft will then have the ability to license out the games to other subscription services, as well as to pay a fee to force Microsoft to port Activision Games to competing PC gaming operating systems like Linux.

Originally set to close by mid-July, Microsoft’s plan to buy Activision Blizzard ran into all sorts of roadblocks in the U.S. and UK. Despite regulatory approval in the European Union, the Federal Trade Commission ended up suing to try and prevent the deal from closing earlier this summer, only for the judge in the case to end up denying the request and side with Microsoft. The CMA, meanwhile, blocked the deal back in April claiming it would give Microsoft a big competitive advantage in the cloud gaming market if it ever decided to make games like Call of Duty exclusive to streaming on Game Pass.

After the failure of the FTC’s lawsuit, Microsoft and the CMA began negotiating on potential remedies again, culminating in the new and much more convoluted version of the deal laid out today. An agreement was also signed with Sony to secure ongoing access to Call of Duty games on PlayStation 5 and future consoles for the next 10 years. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard recently signed a 90-day extension of their merger agreement which expires on October 18. The CMA will review the new terms before then, but this whole saga isn’t over yet.

“This is not a green light,” CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell said in a statement. “We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments. Our goal has not changed — any future decision on this new deal will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition driving innovation and choice.”

Blizzard Plans To Drop New Diablo 4 Expansions Every Year

Blizzard confirmed in a September 5 interview that not only will its loot-chasing action-RPG Diablo IV get long-term support in the form of its quarterly seasons, but the game will also receive a new paid expansion every year.

Read More: Diablo 4‘s Next Season Looks Pretty Gruesome In New Trailer

Rod Fergusson, general manager of the Diablo franchise, said as much to Dexerto, telling the gaming publication that the team’s vision for the game stretches for a while. In fact, Fergusson expressly said Blizzard is focused on Diablo IV for “years and years,” stating that the first season was merely the foundation for its future.

“So, as we look at our quarterly seasons, and we look at our annual expansions, those are the things that we’re really focused on for our live service,” Fergusson said. “We’ve got plans, we have storylines that go well into the future. We’ve got plans. We’re always leapfrogging our seasons, and leapfrogging our expansions, so it’s something we are going to do for a long time. We’re excited. When you look back and realize that there were 11 years between [Diablo III] and [Diablo IV], that feels like we didn’t live up to our players, our community, and what they deserve. That’s something we are rectifying in [Diablo IV] with our seasons and our expansions.”

In this way, Diablo IV’s expansion cadence will mirror Bungie’s Destiny games, particularly Destiny 2, which normally gets new content in the form of free seasonal updates and paid annual expansions. While there are no specifics yet on what new content Diablo IV will see introduced in its expansions, both Diablo II and Diablo III saw new areas, new storylines, and new character classes introduced in the one expansion each game received. Most recently, the mobile spin-off Diablo Immortal got a hot vamp knight, the first new class Blizzard has introduced to the series in nine years. Your move, Diablo IV.

Kotaku reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment.

Read More: Diablo 4‘s Inventory Situation Is Pretty Crummy

Season of the Malignant, Diablo IV’s first content drop that started on July 20, wasn’t exactly well-received by the community, with some fans complaining that the battle pass is quite stingy, and a pre-season patch receiving widespread rebuke for making the game even grindier. So sharp was the criticism that the company not only apologized for the derided changes to the game but also promised to never release such a patch again. With the second content drop, Season of Blood, kicking off on October 17 and coming with a bunch of meaningful tweaks to storage management and status effects—among other things—here’s hoping Blizzard finds its groove.


Activision Blizzard Games Should Appear On Game Pass In 2024

When speculation rife that Microsoft expects to finalize its purchase of Activision Blizzard this week, and COD: Modern Warfare III out in a month, it seems people have been wondering when Activision’s games will start appearing on Microsoft’s Game Pass. According to a tweet from Activision Blizzard, it should be some time next year.

The entire debacle of Microsoft’s attempts to buy Activision Blizzard feels it has been clogging up gaming news for years. In fact, it all started only last January, but followed hot on the heels of months of grim and gruesome reporting on the heinous working conditions at the developer’s various studios. This week could see that enormous, shitty chapter come to a close. Presumably so another enormous, shitty chapter can start.

But still, more games on Game Pass!

“As we continue to work toward regulatory approval of the Microsoft deal,” said Activision Blizzard on X, “we’ve been getting some questions whether our upcoming and recently launched games will be available via Game Pass.”

The Verge reported on Friday that Microsoft is getting ready to close the $68.7 billion deal, with October 13 thought to be the Big Day. Of course, this is all being held back by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is the one international regulator that managed to decisively block the deal. However, being the UK’s CMA, it did it in the most cack-handed way, blathering on about unfair market control of cloud gaming, or some-such abstract technicality.

This complete whiff, entirely ignoring the concerns of, you know, Microsoft forming an actual monopoly, ensured a pathway for the two corporations to renegotiate arrangements such that it would avert the CMA’s peculiar strategy, and a couple of weeks ago it was provisionally stated it had succeeded. We should be finding out this week if the CMA is entirely satisfied, and given that’s likely to be the case, signet-ring-bearing hands will shake and overpriced Champagne shall be popped, as a bunch of extraordinarily rich people stand to get even richer.

Read More: Hold Onto Your Butts, Microsoft’s Massive Activision Blizzard Deal Is Finally Happening

“While we do not have plans to put Modern Warfare III or Diablo IV into Game Pass this year,” continues that Activision tweet, “once the deal closes, we expect to start working with Xbox to bring our titles to more players around the world.” So when? “And we anticipate that we would begin adding games into Game Pass sometime in the course of next year.”

It’s oddly slow, if anything. They’ll be the same company, and they’ve known they would been the same company for the last 20 months, so it seems strange that it’ll take another few months before Microsoft will be hosting what will suddenly become first-party games on its own streaming service.

There’s one small cloud hanging over their grey-suited celebrations: the FTC still has an appear in with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and that decision won’t appear until December. Should it succeed, it would then become about trying to undo the already sealed deal, which would be a whole other level of difficult, and no one surely believes the FTC has the teeth or the fight in it to win.

So, the industry shrinks yet again, with less competition, fewer major publishers attempting to outsell each other, and so less choice and worse prices for the gaming public. It doesn’t seem like the games industry can be far away from the monstrous and idiotic situation of the music industry, in the control of the Big Four record labels. It certainly seems unlikely that any regulatory bodies will be able to stop it, either way.

But you know, you can get next year’s COD on your subscription, so shhhhh.

Microsoft’s Historic Activision Blizzard Deal Is Finally Done

The video game industry just got a lot smaller. The long and winding saga of Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard has finally come to a close with the companies announcing the completed merger today following one last greenlight from regulators in the UK. Call of Duty is now part of Xbox and the tech giant has now surpassed Sony as the second biggest gaming company in the world, as gaming’s big march toward corporate consolidation continues.

In addition to the blockbuster military shooter, Activision Blizzard produces Overwatch 2, Diablo IV, and World of Warcraft. The acquisition will provide a raft of big games for Microsoft’s growing Xbox Game Pass subscription service, as well as make it a massive player on mobile with some of the biggest smartphone games in the world in Candy Crush and Call of Duty mobile. Microsoft signed a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, but has reserved the right to make other Activision Blizzard franchises exclusive to its Xbox platforms going forward.

The deal will also effectively expand Microsoft’s gaming business by roughly 10,000 employees. It’s not yet clear how many of them will remain, either due to redundancy layoffs or attrition of senior talent and executive level staff. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wrote in an email to staff today that he will stay on at the company reporting to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer through the end of 2023.

Microsoft agreed to union neutrality with the Communication Workers of America last year, and starting 60 days from now Activision Blizzard employees will be able to get recognition of a union with majority support through a simple card check. Prior to joining Microsoft, the company had fought unionization efforts and recieved a number of labor complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard first announced the groundbreaking merger back in January 2022. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Spencer approached Kotick about the deal after the publisher’s stock price collapsed following major game delays and continued reports of past sexual harassment and misconduct by some of its employees.

Phil Spencer and Bobby Kotick appear next to each other on CNBC in early 2022.

A July 20, 2021 lawsuit by the California Civil Rights Department alleged widespread sexual harassment and discrimination within Activision Blizzard. Then a bombshell Wall Street Journal report on November 17, 2021 claimed that Kotick was aware of multiple past sexual misconduct lawsuits against the company but failed to report them to its board of directors. Activision has called the report misleading and is currently fighting the Civil Rights Department’s lawsuit in court.

However, a day after The Wall Street Journal’s report was published, Spencer emailed staff within Microsoft that he was “evaluating all aspects” of Xbox’s relationship with Activision Blizzard. The next day, he approached Kotick about buying the embattled company. Those talks eventually culminated in a deal to buy the Call of Duty publisher for $95 a share, a 45 percent premium over what the company was worth following the sexual misconduct reports and game production delays.

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg both reported at the time that Kotick was expected to resign after the deal closed, allowing him a graceful exit from the company he spent 30 years leading while the California lawsuit is still ongoing. Kotick also stands to make nearly $400 million from the sale via his stock holdings, over 20 times the $18 million settlement Activision Blizzard paid to the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission over sexual discrimination allegations last year.

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard had originally planned to close the deal by last July, but battles with regulators in the UK and U.S. almost killed it off. The Federal Trade Commission attempted to block the merger in federal court over the summer, leading to a week-long trial that ended up revealing an unprecedented amount of behind-the-scenes info about Xbox, Sony, and other gaming companies, including leaked plans for upcoming consoles and private emails between top brass.

The FTC’s legal case ultimately failed, however, paving the way for Microsoft to address remaining reservations with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. As part of a reworked plan to win approval, Microsoft agreed to sell cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games in the UK to Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft, preventing it from being able to withhold streaming licenses for hits like Call of Duty and Overwatch from competitors like Sony. While Microsoft ultimately prevailed with regulators, the unexpected level of scrutiny resulted in a number of compromises and an unusual level of transparency that both companies may not have been counting on when the deal was first announced.

With the acquisition fights done, the new challenge for Microsoft will be how to integrate the massive publisher into its existing gaming business. That process will take years as well, and no doubt include its own set of twists and turns. Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda Softworks’ parent company ZeniMax in 2020 doubled the size of Xbox Game Studios. Activision Blizzard is almost five times bigger. Its next big game, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (Amazon), arrives on November 2, giving Microsoft the biggest release of the holiday season.

Controversial CEO Bobby Kotick Will Leave Activision Blizzard

Longtime Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick, is almost gone, but not quite yet. Nearly two years after over 1,000 of his employees called on the controversial executive to resign, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirmed that Kotick will remain the head of the Call of Duty publisher until the end of 2023, to help with the transition as it begins officially merging with the tech giant.

“Bobby Kotick has agreed to remain in his role through the end of 2023, reporting directly to me, to ensure a smooth and seamless integration,” Spencer wrote in an October 13 email to staff. “We look forward to working together as a unified team and we will share more updates on our new organizational structure in the coming months.”

“I have long said that I am fully committed to helping with the transition,” Kotick wrote in his own email to Activision Blizzard employees. “Phil has asked me to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him, and we have agreed that I will do that through the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together on a smooth integration for our teams and players.”

Kotick’s leadership at Activision has often been contentious, especially following a 2021 lawsuit by regulators in the state of California alledging a history of sexual harassment and discrimation at the company. Activision Blizzard has denied those claims and continues to fight the lawsuit in court. But the allegations and subsquent reporting became a catalyst for hundreds of employees at the company to speak out against the CEO, and even begin unionizing at some studios.

A November 2021 investigation by The Wall Street Journal alleged that Kotick was aware of serious sexual misconduct incidents at the company and did not always report them to the board of directors. Activision called the reporting misleading, but in the wake of the story gaming executives—including Sony’s Jim Ryan, Nintendo of America’s Doug Bowser, and Spencer himself—informed staff they were concerned about the allegations. The report also led over 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees to call for Kotick to resign amid large scale walkouts.

Instead, Microsoft swooped in to begin acqusition neogtiations. According to reporting by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, the mounting calls for accountability and unease among some members of the board of directors were a factor in convincing Kotick to move ahead with selling Activision Blizzard. It’s a deal that now looks set to provide him with a nearly $400 million windfall in the sale of company stock.

Even prior to the sexual harassment and discrimation allegations against the company, which spurred Kotick to announce a series of initiatives to make Activision Blizzard a more safe and inclusive workplace, developers working under him have often been critical of the executive’s vision for aggressively monetizing franchises with sequels and pricey in-game items. The annual production of blockbuster Call of Duty games has been blamed for poor working conditions among quality assurance testers, and extended periods of overtime “crunch” across the teams making them.

“We see the progress that they’re making that was pretty fundamental to us deciding to go forward here,” Spencer said of Activision’s plans to improve workplace culture in the wake of the California lawsuit, back when the merger was first announced in January 2022. More recently, Kotick had controversial comedian and former late night host James Corden come to Activision to interview him earlier this week. He told the Cats star that the company had a “magic” culture, and it was that magic that first attracted Microsoft to the acquisition in the first place.

Blizzard Deletes Diablo 4 Season 2 Trailer Full Of Errors

A necromancer attacks a cloaked figure.

Image: Blizzard

Diablo IV’s vampire-infested new Season of Blood goes live on October 17. In addition to new quests and gear, season 2 also promises a big overhaul of how XP and damage are calculated. The math can get pretty complicated. Even Blizzard’s own trailer got it wrong, which the studio ended up pulling after it was roundly mocked online.

“Check out some of the best quality-of-life changes coming with Season of Blood,” read the description of a nearly two-minute video posted on Diablo IV’s social media channel on October 13. As first spotted by PCGamesN, it was quickly taken down after fans noticed a bunch of errors in the footage. However, it has since been immortalized in a reaction video by Diablo YouTuber and streamer Raxxanterax. “I’m trying to build some hype for your new season, but you’re making it real hard.”

One section mixes up the “before” and “after” comparisons of a rework that will streamline Nightmare Dungeons and increase enemy density within them, and another touts overhauled mounts without really showing what’s changing. But the main section of the video that drew the ire of fans was a part breaking down how the math calculating XP earned and damage dealt will change starting in Season of Blood.

A before and after slide shows a switch from “1,000 x 40% = 1,040 XP” to “(1,000 x 1.2 = 1,200) 1.2 = 1,400 XP.” Unfortunately, neither is mathematically correct. What it’s intended to show is that rather than XP percentage bonuses being purely additive they will be multiplied, providing additional gains. It was hardly the biggest of blunders, but combined with everything else it became easy fodder for internet dunks.

When Season of Blood goes live it will fundamentally change how stats like damage and resistance are calculated as well. The patch notes are 10,000 words long. If everything goes off without a hitch it could be the second wind Diablo IV needs right now. Then again, with so many changes going into effect simultaneously, I’m sure more than a few bugs will be discovered after season 2 begins.

Update 10/17/2023 2:36 p.m. ET: Blizzard announced that the official start of the season has been delayed by a few hours due to some complicaitons with the build. Today is also Diablo IV’s debute on Steam.


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